JACKSON, Miss. – Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the first West Nile virus (WNV) death in a Mississippi resident for 2017. The resident was from Grenada County. Additionally, MSDH is reporting nine new human cases in the last week (incudes the reported death), bringing the state total to 19 for 2017. The newly reported cases are in Forrest (2), Grenada, Hinds, Jones, Lincoln, Madison, Rankin and Scott counties.
So far this year cases have been reported in Covington, Forrest (4), Grenada, Hinds (4), Humphreys, Jones, Leflore, Lincoln, Madison, Perry, Rankin (2), and Scott counties. The MSDH only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public. In 2016, Mississippi had 43 WNV cases and two deaths.
“This sadly serves as a reminder that the threat of West Nile virus should be taken very seriously,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “While many people may be infected with West Nile and not show symptoms, in a small number of cases, the infection can cause very serious complications, even death.”
Symptoms of WNV infection are often mild and may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, a rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes.
Peak WNV season in Mississippi is July through September, although cases can occur at any time of the year.
The virus has been detected in mosquitoes throughout the state, so residents in all counties should take the following precautions for protection against mosquito-borne illnesses:
Use a mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient such as DEET while you are outdoors.
Remove all sources of standing water around your home and yard to prevent mosquito breeding.
Wear loose, light-colored, long clothing to cover the arms and legs when outdoors.
Avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.
For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS/westnile.